Court acquits retired air commodore Umar Mohammed of money laundering charges
A federal high court in Abuja has cleared and acquitted Umar Mohammed, a retired air commodore, of money laundering charges.
Mohammed was, in 2020, again arraigned alongside his company, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited, before Inyang Ekwo, the judge, on borderline charges of money laundering, illegal possession of firearms and possession official documents without legal authorization.
In March 2021, the federal government had presented in a federal high court in Abuja $1,030,000 that it allegedly recovered from Mohammed’s residence.
The federation attorney general’s office, which was the prosecution, had called a witness, Stephen Olatubosun, an official of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Mohammed had testified as the only witness for the defense and told the court that he was a businessman specializing in oil and gas, upstream and downstream, aircraft charter and aviation, as well as air freight, local and international.
He also maintained that the money found in his residence was his personal funds used for his business.
Delivering judgment on Friday, Ekwo, the presiding judge, found the prosecution had failed to prove the essentials of the charge.
“The cardinal principle of law is that the commission of a crime by a party must be proven beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.
“This is the law set out in Section 138 (1) of the Evidence Act. The burden never changes.
Ekwo held that since the prosecution did not cross-examine the defendant after his testimony, this amounted to admitting the proven evidence.
“The prosecution did not cross-examine DW1 after his examination-in-chief; instead, asked to close his case,” Ekwo said.
“I agree with learned silk for defendants’ counsel that DW1’s evidence having been uncontested is deemed to be admitted. This is the position of the law.
“The position of the law as established in many authorities is that evidence presented in court, which is relevant to the issue in dispute, and which has not been successfully challenged or debunked becomes good and credible evidence. , upon which a scholar should rely. trial judge.
“In criminal cases, failure to cross-examine a witness on vital evidence obtained during examination-in-chief is fatal because the prosecution has no other way to challenge that witness or his or her testimony than the cross-examination.
“Overall, I find that the prosecution has failed to prove counts one and two beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the prosecution has failed to discharge the charge. evidence as required by law in this case.
“Where, at the end of the trial, the prosecution has failed to prove the essential elements of a charge, thereby leaving the slightest doubt in the mind of the court, the court is bound to resolve the doubt in favor of the accused.
“As it stands, the doubt in me is resolved in favor of the defendants and I hold it. I make an order releasing and acquitting the accused in this case. This is the order of this court.